BY MELANIE BUCK –
Authorities have found and arrested the juvenile that is allegedly responsible for causing the destruction of several monuments on the courthouse lawn. According to Mena Police Department Officer Todd Cannon, on June 12, a passer-by noticed the damage and reported it to police.
During the initial investigation, Officer Cannon found a piece of a vehicle at the scene and also noted tire tracks in the lawn. Using statements from witnesses and the expertise of a local mechanic, Cannon was able to get an approximate make and model of the vehicle as well as color. A similar vehicle was then tracked down to a local residence. After talking to witnesses, Officer Cannon called in the occupants of the vehicle to take their statements.
The driver, a 17-year old juvenile male from Mena, stated that he and another juvenile passenger, were traveling north on Mena Street when he fell asleep and his 2000 Chevy truck crossed the centerline striking the monuments. Once found, the driver admitted he had panicked and fled the scene. He has been charged with No Driver’s License, No Insurance, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.
“It’s a shame that this happened and those responsible should pay for the damages,” stated Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison.
According to Ellison the monuments damaged were the Herbert A. Littleton Monument, owned by the Marine Corps League Detachment #1261, and will cost $2983.40 to replace; the Arkansas Monument, owned by the Mena Emblem Club, $1846.17; and the Fallen Warrior Memorial Bench, $950. Also damaged were a broken water line, costing $250, and lighting fixtures around the flagpole, $322.64. Total damages amount to $6352.21. None of the damaged monuments are covered by insurance.
A street sign belonging to a local church was also damaged. Although the accident was very close, fortunately no damage was incurred to the new, large Polk County War Memorial, which is owned and insured by the Fallen Warrior Memorial Fund.
*All persons within this article are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.